While I’ve already written ways to spend two weeks in Korea, I thought I’d make one giant Korea itinerary guide for a month.

I do think one month isn’t nearly enough to see all of Korea, but I’m obviously quite biased ;).

I decided to make this itinerary a bit faster than I’d normally travel just so I could fit in as much as possible. If you only can ever come to Korea once, this should help you feel like you saw everything you could see.

Quick Korea Travel Tips

  • Getting in: If you’re coming from abroad, you’ll most likely fly into Incheon International Airport (ICN). It’s about an hour from Seoul and extremely easy to take the subway to get to your hotel. However, you can also get a taxi or book a transfer beforehand.
  • Stay Connected: While Korea is pretty well connected wifi wise, I always recommend getting a SIM card! Even better, Korea offers e-SIMs! You can buy ahead and not even have to take out your normal SIM.
  • Getting Around: All major cities have some sort of subway system and there’s a pretty robust bus system all around the country even in more rural areas. Download KakaoMap for the most up to date information. In between cities, you can take the train or bus. For trains, I always use Let’s Korail to buy tickets ahead of time as they can sell out. For buses, I usually just show up to the terminal and buy tickets, but my friend told me you could use TxBus, Kobus, or Bustago to order online.
  • Language Help: While major tourist points are pretty okay with English, I’d say the rest of Korea you’ll want to have some sort of translation app on hand. And I recommend learning Hangul at least a little bit so you can read. Papago is better than Google translate for Korean.
  • Travel Insurance: Korea can be expensive if you wind up in the hospital! I recommend getting either World Nomads or SafetyWing. I personally have an annual plan with Allianz.

For more advice, check out my Korea travel tips and my Korea trip planner.

The Ultimate Korea Itinerary Guide for 1 Month

Fly Into: Incheon International Airport

Assuming you’re coming from abroad, you’re most likely going to fly into Incheon Airport! Incheon has spoiled me because it’s seriously one of the best airports in the world, even if the “ice rink” is a lie. Seriously, this place even has arrows on the ground to make sure you’re going in the right direction to the subway!

Gangwon-do, Korea Itinerary

Days 1 – 4: Gangwon Province

So, you’re not actually going into Seoul just yet. Nope, you’re going to the Northeast coast to Gangwon-do! In fact, this is the northernmost province in South Korea.

You get there in one of two ways:

  • Take an airport bus from Incheon to Sokcho (Check the schedule here)
  • Use the subway to first go to Seoul Station. Then take a train from Seoul Station to Gangneung Station. Forom there take a bus from Gangenung to Sokcho (Airport – 1 hour, KTX – 2 hours, Bus – 1 hour)

Stay: By the beach! Top spots include Heavenmark, Sokcho Beach’s House, or Sokcho & Guesthouse

Day 1: Sokcho

I’d base myself in Sokcho (속초) for this Gangwon trip. This is the main spot for anyone visiting the area as it’s a gateway city for Seoraksan National Park and has quite a few scenic things to do on its own.

Take the rest of the day to get over jet lag and sleep because your schedule is about to be packed.

Day 2: Hike or visit Seoraksan

Spend the day hiking Seoraksan, one of Korea’s most important mountains. Or you could take the cable car up, I won’t judge.

Day 3: Sea Train

Take the sea train and stop off at some of the main beaches in Gangwon, including Gangneung, Donghae, and Samcheok. Wander around, relax on the beach, and just enjoy. A good day to rest if you did actually hike Seoraksan. If you do want to do some sightseeing, you could do this Gangneung Taxi Tour.

Bukchon Hanok Village, Seoul, Korea

Days 5 – 9: Seoul

Time for one of the coolest cities in the world! I’m not kidding. I’ve been to so many cities in my travels and Seoul still tops the list for me. The biggest thing you should know is that it’s massive. Much bigger than what you’re expecting and unless you want to drain your bank account taking taxis, you’re going to want to give yourself more time than you think to get around via the subway or bus.

Getting back: For your time in Seoul, I recommend staying in Insadong. It’s the best location for everything you’ll want to do below! To get to Insadong from Sokcho, you’ll want to take a bus from Sokcho Bus Terminal to Seoul Express Bus Terminal. From there you can take the subway to the closest station to your hotel.

Stay: I’ve personally stayed at the Grid Inn which is in SUCH a good location. If you want to experience a hanok, try Charm Hanok Guest House.

Gwangjang Market, Seoul, Korea

Day 5: Seoul – Insadong

Once you’ve arrived to Seoul and dropped your things off at your hotel, just walk around and enjoy Insadong! This is probably my favorite neighborhood of Seoul because it’s the most historic area.

If you’re up for some walking, spend the afternoon strolling through Bukchon Hanok Village. It’s really such a pretty place as it’s where all the traditional houses are located! Be sure to go to the main view point, which is someone’s house, and see over the tiled roofs to Namsan Tower. Another good stop is the cool cafe, Green Mile Bukchon! Also my favorite incense shop, Granhand has a location here.

When it comes time for dinner, hop over to Gwangjang Market to sample all the delicious Korean food you can. If it sounds familiar, it’s because the market was featured on Netflix’s “Street Food” series.

Day 6: Storybook Day Tour

There are a few different day tours you can do from Seoul, but I personally love the nearby storybook-esque visits! You could take the subway to Gapyeong and do the Gapyeong shuttle bus or you can book a tour that will take you to each of the spots throughout the day.

I’ve personally only visited via a tour. Most will take you to the Garden of the Morning Calm, Nami Island, and Petite France. Sometimes the tours have one other stop, but I think doing all three is a good amount for one day without feeling overwhelming. Check this tour for prices + availability

Day 7: Changdeokgung & Deoksugung

To start, there are five official grand palaces of Seoul, and on this trip I have you seeing three of them. It sounds like overkill, but I promise these three are particularly different. Gyeongbokgung is the largest of the palaces (more below) while Changdeokgung is known for its Secret Garden and Deoksugung is much smaller and known for having some European style buildings mixed in. I promise they’re worth it!

On this day, you’re going to start off early and go straight to Changdeokgung. It opens at 9, and you want to make sure you get tickets to see the Secret Garden. If you visit during the fall, the line will be long! This whole palace area will take at least 2 hours to see everything.

For lunch and the middle of the day, you can go around Insadong (there’s plenty of good restaurants to pop into) or you can venture over to Seoul University to see all the restaurants and cafes near there.

In the afternoon, head to Deoksugung. Visit the palace grounds themselves before going up to the observatory to get a cool bird’s eye view. This is a particular must if you visit during peak fall foliage season.

Day 8: Full Day Tour to Suwon Hwaseong or the DMZ

Use this day to tour either the DMZ or Suwon Fortress. Both will take you the better part of the day and will showcase an interesting part of Korea’s history. Book a tour to Suwon here or book a DMZ tour here

Seasonal Option: Hike Bukhansan for its fall foliage.

Gyeongbokgung, Seoul, Korea

Day 9: Gyeongbokgung + Cheonggyecheon

Start off early and head there to see the changing of the guards and then head in to walk around. Gyeongbokgung is massive, so you’ll probably spend a good few hours there. You can also stop in and visit the National Folk Museum of Korea.

From Gyeongbokgung, walk along Cheonggyecheon, Seoul’s very pretty manmade river. Depending on when you’re visiting, they sometimes have really nice exhibits. You’ll also pass through Gwanghwamun, which has the big statue of King Sejong and usually some sort of event going on.

From Cheongchyecheon, you can walk over to Jogyesa.

Days 10 – 16: Jeollanam-do and Jeollabuk-do

Time for my favorite provinces of Korea! Jeollanam and Jeollabuk (from here on just combined into Jeolla) are a deeply underrated part of the country. I think they’re home to some of the most incredible scenery and, most importantly, the very best food.

I know, I know. I’m biased because this is exactly where I lived for three years, but I promise it’s worse spending at least six days of your month in Korea here.

To get to Jeonju, the first stop in Jeolla, do one of the following:

  • Take a KTX, and it’ll be about 90-minutes from Yongsan Station
  • The slow train will be closer to 3 hours from Yongsan Station
  • A bus will be around 2 1/2 – 3 hours from the Express Bus Terminal

Day 10: Jeonju

Stay overnight in Jeonju’s Hanok Village and get a proper hanok sleeping experience. I personally loved Ssamok Ssamok Hanok Guesthouse when I stayed overnight.

The main thing to do is to enjoy the hanok village. Compare it to Bukchon and let me know which one you like better, I’m personally more partial to Jeonju’s version.

Depending on how active you want to be, you can also visit Deokjin Park, especially if it’s around summer with the lotus pond, and/or visit Jeonju’s Mural Village.

The biggest thing to try here is bibimbap. I was a big fan of 종로회관 (Jongno Hoegwan) but you can’t really go wrong no matter where you go here. At night, climb up to Omokdae (오목대) to get a cool view over the village.

Seasonal Options: If you’re visiting in the fall, don’t go straight to Jeonju! Get up super early and take a bus to Naejangsan or Daedunsan! You can hike or take the cable cars up *cough*. From either of those places, you can get a bus back to Jeonju.

Day 11: Namwon

Of course, I have to add Namwon. You can either stay another night in Jeonju and just do a day trip here or stay overnight. Either way, take a bus instead of the train as the bus terminal is right in town while the train station is a little ways out of town.

If you’re an avid hiker, then I’d plan to hike to Jirisan’s peak or one of its many trails, like Baemsagol or Guryong Falls.

Otherwise, wander around Gwanghallu, along the river, and eat. People say Jeonju has the best bibimbap, but I think Namwon does ;)

Seasonal Options: If you’re here in May, hike Baraebong instead to see all the royal azaleas.

Damyang, Korea

Day 12: Damyang

Damyang is home to Korea’s famous bamboo forest! This should be another full day trip as you’ll be able to see Meta Provence and the metasequoia trees as well. Trust me, the bamboo forest is huge.

If you’re staying in Namwon, a reader just let me know there are now direct bus routes from Namwon to Damyang that take under an hour – hurrah! (Just check Bustago for times – Kakao didn’t seem to have a bus route option listed).

Suncheon Bay is one of Korea's best natural landmarks! Down in Jeollanamdo, here's how you can visit this beautiful wetland.

Day 13: Suncheon

For the rest of your time in Jeolla, Suncheon is the best spot to stay in both because it has a ton to do but also because it’s very easy to get around. I recommend staying around the train station; Sunshine Divine Hotel looks like the nicest option.

Once you’ve dropped off your things, head for the Suncheon Bay Wetland Reserve! If you get in on time, you can hike up and see the sunset over the bay, and it should be gorgeous. The hike is around an hour maybe less and pretty easy if you’re in shape (only a little hard if you’re not). I’ve done it at least… 4 or 5 times in tennis shoes and skirts!

Day 14: Boseong Green Tea Fields

From Suncheon Bus Terminal, you can get to Boseong in about an hour. It’s an easy day trip that will have you trekking around the tea fields, eating all the green tea flavored food, and, if you have time, soaking in a green tea bath near Yulpo Beach. Just check the last bus back from Boseong to Suncheon so you get back in time.

Day 15: Suncheon

Take a breather in Suncheon and visit Naganeupseong, a pretty fortress village about an hour by local bus from downtown Suncheon. It’s a nice afternoon trip, so sleep in and go around golden hour. There’s also the very fun Open Film Location if you want to see what Korea was like in the 1950s-70s.

Alternatively, you can hike between Seonamsa and Sogwangsa if you still have a bunch of energy.

Day 16: Yeosu

Yeosu is one of Korea’s main port cities, and it’s only 30-minutes away from Suncheon via train! There’s a ton to do but the city is pretty spread out, so you’ll want to splurge on some taxi rides to make it more efficient.

The first thing to do is to go over to Hyangiram on Dolsan Island, a really gorgeous seaside temple that’s worth all the steps, I promise! From there go to Angel Alley to see all the murals and get a coffee at either Nangman Cafe or Cafe Duu. Both have pretty views out to the main Yeosu bridge.

Make your way back into town and enjoy Odongdo, a small island near-ish to the expo. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a gejang restaurant near Odongdo where you can try raw crab. I personally LOVE it, but it’s not the best for weak stomachs.

Days 17 – 20: Busan

Time for Busan! If Seoul is NYC, Busan is LA but nicer. Actually back when I was planning a month-long trip to Korea pre-pandemic, I was planning to spend a solid week in Busan to get to know it better. Most of my trips have been day trips or short weekend trips from Suncheon/Namwon.

To get to Busan from Suncheon, your best bet is to take either a train or bus. They both should be between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. From there you can use the subway to get to your hotel.

Stay: Book your hotels in or around Haeundae to be the most central. Can’t go wrong with Park Hyatt Busan. MS Hotel Haeundae and Ekonomy Haeundae also have nice ocean views.

Day 17: Busan

The first day I’d go to Haedong Yongungsa and then hang out around Haeundae. If you have time, visit Spaland and experience the granddaddy of all jimjilbangs in Korea.

I highly recommend making sure you’re at Haeundae for sunset. It’s gotta be one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve seen in Korea.

Day 18: Gyeongju

Do a day tour of Gyeongju! There’s SO much to see in this town as it’s got a ton of historical sites related to the Silla dynasty. If you really want to do DIY this, I’d rent a car because everything is super spread out and I remember the buses not being reliable (no idea if it’s gotten a major update). Otherwise we wound up paying a taxi driver to stay with us the whole day. You’re much better off just booking an actual day tour from Busan, like this one.

Hansando, Tongyeong, Korea

Day 19: Day Trip or Enjoy Busan

On this day you have to options depending on how you’re feeling. If you do want to rent a car, this is a good day to do a day trip to Tongyeong! Otherwise, it’s quite hectic trying to get around with the public transportation and/or taxis.

Otherwise you can do a nice hike up Geumjeongsan, relax at either Haeundae or Gwanghalli all day, or see some of the islands close to Busan.

Seasonal Option: If you’re visiting during cherry blossom, get your butt to Hwagae or Jinhae at the crack of dawn!

Gamcheon Culture Village, Busan, South Korea |Willemstad, Curacao | most colorful places in the world

Day 20: Busan

Start the morning over in Gamcheon Culture Village. It’s less busy in the mornings and easily one of my favorite places in all of Korea. The colorful buildings are so super charming and it’s just the perfect area to spend a few hours walking around.

From Gamcheon, you can head over to Nampodong and check out the different markets and alleyways. It’s also close to Jalgachi Fish Market for lunch and/or dinner.

Days 21 – 27: Jeju

Now for my favorite place in all of Korea – Jeju! For such a small island, you’d be surprised by just how many things there are to do. Depending on how you want to explore the island depends on how you’ll figure out where to stay. I’ve been a few times and while the bus system is really good, I do think if there’s one place to rent a car it’s here. If you do rent a car, you can just base yourself in one place the whole time. Otherwise I’d split my stays between the west and east so you’re not spending too much time in public transport

Getting to Jeju: From Busan, you’ll want to fly to Jeju! Don’t even think of taking a ferry. The best one is in Mokpo, which is 4-5 hours from Busan, and even from there it’s 4 hours by ferry. By the time you figure it all out you’ll wish you’d just flown.

When it comes to where to stay in Jeju, my favorite area is the Northeast. PLAYCE Camp is a really cool spot with sort like its own town center vibe. I also LOVED Baco Home 3 & Slow Mansion which is right next to the smaller port for Udo and by a beach that’s basically private with a view of Seongsan from afar. Another favorite was this super rural stay called Romantopia in Southeast Jeju. You really can only stay at these latter two if you have a car, though. Otherwise finding the bus or taxis will take up half your time!

Here are ALL the top things to do in Jeju, South Korea! This island is a great getaway from the busier mainland, and showcases Korean beauty at its best.

Day 21: Northwest Jeju

If you’re going the bus route, stay around Hyeopjae for two nights. This is a little under an hour from Jeju Airport. For super budgeters Hyeopjae Guesthouse is nice and on the beach and if you can splurge a bit, Dyne Oceano Hotel looks lovely.

For your first day in Jeju, just enjoy the coast! Before you check in, you can actually stop off at Aewol which has a beautiful sea walk as well as some very cute cafes. If you’re feeling up to it, you can even do some sea kayaking.

Once you’re settled in Hyeopjae, you’ve GOT to go to Donato’s for pizza. It’s on par if not better than some slices I’ve gotten in Italy.

Day 22: Hike Hallasan

Hiking day! Hallasan is still one mountain I’ve yet to hike simply because it was either too hot when I went to Jeju or I just didn’t have time. It’s the tallest mountain in the country, and you’ll want to set aside the whole day to do it. Stop off at a convenience store to pack up some kimbap and snacks for the hike.

Here are ALL the top things to do in Jeju, South Korea! This island is a great getaway from the busier mainland, and showcases Korean beauty at its best.

Day 23-25: Southwest Jeju + Seogwipo

For your next leg you’ll want to go towards Southwest Jeju and stay somewhere in Seogwipo. All the luxury resorts and hotels are in this area if you’re looking for a splurge. When I did my first trip, I stayed at this really cute hostel called Lemon Tree Guesthouse 2, and I’ve always wanted to stay at Hidden Cliff Hotel & Nature.

There’s a lot to see in this area, which is why I recommend spending 2-3 days here. Some of the things you can see include Camelia Hill, O’Sulloc Tea Fields, the three major waterfalls, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, and Daesungeolli Cliffs. Seogwipo is the next largest city next to Jeju City but way cuter and more charming. There are also lots of cute cafes sprinkled around this area!

Here are ALL the top things to do in Jeju, South Korea! This island is a great getaway from the busier mainland, and showcases Korean beauty at its best.

Day 26-27: Northeast Jeju

Next, head over to the east coast! Like I said the Northeast is my favorite area but you could also stay somewhere along the central eastern coast and still get around pretty easily. Spend one of these days moseying your way all around the even tinier island of Udo and at least one sunrise and sunset around Seongsan Ilchulbong! Sunrise is a must and if you go at the right time you’ll see the hanyeo emerging from the morning catches. Sunset, though, is my favorite time. Instead of hiking up to the peak, walk away along the water and look at it from afar. Truly magical.

Some other things to do include Bijarim Forest, Manjanggul Cave, and way more!

Days 28 – 30/31 – Seoul

From Jeju, you can easily (and fairly cheaply depending on when) fly up to Seoul! I’d stay around Hongdae just because it’s right on the same line as the airport, and it’s a fun area to end your trip on.

Stay: RYSE, L7 Hongdae, and Hotel Baroato are all near subway exits and lovely

Coffee Nap Roasters | Cafes in Seoul

Day 28: Seoul – Hongdae

Since Hongdae caters to three different universities (Hongik, Yonsei, and Ehwa), it’s bustling with energy and fun things to do. If you want to relax a bit, I’d spend the day at the Trick Eye Museum which holds the X-rated Love Museum, the actual Trick Eye area, an Ice Museum, and CaFace. There’s also the very fun Yeonnam-dong area which is where a ton of trendy cafes in Seoul are located.

You can also take the subway one stop over to Sinchon and Ehwa to visit those areas as well! Ehwa and Hongdae have really fun shopping if you’re hoping to indulge in some Korean fashion.

Day 29: Seokchon + Lotte World

If you don’t mind the trip across the city, you can squeeze in a trip to Seokchon Lake, Lotte World, and Seoul Sky Observatory. This is especially a must-see during cherry blossom season.

Day 30-31: Any Last Minute Visits or Shopping

Use your last day or two to do any last minute sightseeing or souvenir shopping. I know I don’t include Namsan Tower, so this is a good day to go up there!

Last Day: Fly Out of Incheon

If you’ve stayed in Hongdae, it’s a very easy hour ride to get to the airport from Hongdae Station. If for some reason you can’t use the subway, you may want to book an airport transfer.

Hope this guide helps you plan the perfect, month-long Korea itinerary! There’s so much to see and do, it might have pained me a little that I couldn’t recommend all of it.

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51 Comments

  1. Hello! Thanks so much for the helpful guide.

    We have 3 weeks in South Korea, arriving late May. I am not sure we can see both of Jeolla province and Gangwon province in this time… What do you think of the itineraries below? We like walking, food, and happy to take buses/trains where we can. Interested in how tricky it would be to go from Gangwon -> Busan as this isn’t in your plan above.

    Option 1 (Gangwon): Arrive in Seoul -> 4-5 nights in Seoul -> bus/train to Gangwon province -> 3-4 nights in Sokcho -> bus/train south to Busan (a whole day?) -> 3-4 nights in Busan -> fly to Jeju -> 3-4 nights in Jeju -> fly to Seoul -> 2-3 nights in Seoul

    Option 2 (Jeolla): Arrive in Seoul -> 4-5 nights in Seoul -> bus/train to Jeolla province -> 3-4 nights in Jeonju -> bus/train south to Busan -> 3-4 nights in Busan -> fly to Jeju -> 3-4 nights in Jeju -> fly to Seoul -> 2-3 nights in Seoul

    Thank you!

    1. Hi! These both sound great! I’d personally go with Option 2 but I’ll admit I’m not as familiar with Sokcho as I am with Jeonju and Jeolla is my favorite province, so I may be biased. However, I’d still vote Jeolla just because it’s more countryside vibes vs coastal like Sokcho. And you’re already going to get the coast with both Busan and Jeju!

      1. Amazing! Thanks so much Samantha. Would either region be much/less trickier with no Korean? And only other question… we are there in late May / June – any tips on the weather in these regions at that time, or will it be pretty warm (but hopefully not too humid!) everywhere?

        1. Of course! I would say they’re both about equal. You might struggle a little but if you download the Papago app, it will come in handy. (it’s better than the Google translate app for Korean! It also has the photo translation and voice translation functions). It starts getting hot in late May/June but not unbearable like it does in July and August. Sokcho is a little cooler because up north and Jeolla is down south but it’s really not the biggest difference. Humidity shouldn’t be bad yet either!

  2. Hello! So glad to find you!

    I am heading to Korea for 2 months (basically March and April 2024). I have to say that this one month guide is perfect! I will go more slowly but love how you have helped minimize the travel times. I hate wasting my vacation going back and forth from place to place.

    I like nature, beautiful but easy – medium hikes, and cultural/artsy things. If you could add a few days here and there to your itinerary, where would you add? I’ll probably spend about 2 weeks in Seoul before I am done and can do some day trips.

    I also do not want to rent a car or use a tour company unless there is a don’t miss thing that really requires a car or tour.

    Anyway, appreciate hints AND really really really appreciate this sort of itinerary tool.

    1. Oh such gorgeous months to go!! Definitely add more time in Jeollabuk + Jeollanam – this itinerary is really full on for those provinces. For two months, I’d also build in at least a day or two for jimjilbangs and rest – maybe even a little pampering with a hair appointment or facial. You’ll also be here for the cherry blossoms, so you’ll want to spent a time visiting those areas! Take a day for Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival and a day for Gwangyang’s Maehwa Festival. Plus Gurye’s Sansuyu and Namwon’s Baraebong Royal Azalea hike… Spring is SUCH a gorgeous time to be here!

  3. Hi Sam! I hope you are doing well. I just want to thank you for all the South Korean guides, trips, and tricks you shared. I have fun doing one month of solo traveling in Korea with it. I’m used to planning, but It was my first time flying solo, so I tend to plan thoroughly, and your blog has been a big help! I went there from last October to November, enjoying the autumn and getting the first snow there before returning! All the destinations are nice, and the food recommendations are delicious (The only sad thing is a lot of restaurants in Namwon are closed due to renovation! I didn’t get to try their naengmyeon)
    I love Suncheon the most. I got lucky and got to visit Suncheonman for free! Because their 2023 expo was a big success, the government showed its appreciation to the people by opening it free for one week before closing it until 2024. It’s a must visit for everyone visiting Suncheon! It was very very very very very beautiful.
    Also, have fun hiking in Seoraksan in autumn! I only have the energy to hike Ulsanbawi, but It will be a memory I will never forget.
    Once again, thank you, and have a great 2024! :)

    1. Hi Jenn, this makes me so happy to read!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip, it sounds like the perfect introduction to Korea! I’ll be visiting Namwon again later this year, so I’ll have to check on those restaurants!

  4. Hi Samantha!

    How are you?

    I booked a summer 3 weeks for South Korea (big kpop/kdrama fan) but I booked with little knowing of what you can do. I am now reading up on it and feel that I might not love it as much as 3 weeks’ worth.

    I booked a non-refundable stay in Seoul for my first 3 nights limiting me. Is there any advice you can give?

    So far, I’ve liked the look of Seoul, Jeju Island, Busan but wondering where else I could go? Is there a direct way to get to Busan from Jeollabuk-do? Finding it quite hard to use the suggested Kakao maps (not in English as far as I can tell) and Google maps is useless. Or if you can suggest an itinerary for 3 weeks that’s quite public transport friendly?

    I like to get out in nature, very much a scenic person but don’t mind unusual things like the poop cafe etc or anything else quite quirky! Not too much into history so I am wondering if I’ll enjoy the palaces.

    1. Hi Aimee!

      There’s so much to do and see in Korea that I feel like even 3 weeks isn’t enough, but I’m obviously biased. Jeollabuk-do is a huge region but I imagine you’d at least want to go to Jeonju. There are both direct buses and trains that go. However I do recommend you use the Papago app to help you translate (you can screenshot maps and upload).

      3 nights sounds like a great first time in Korea – how do you think it’s limiting you? I’d start with 3 days in Seoul and then end with 2-3 days in Seoul. You can do day trips, check out each neighborhoods, find filming locations, etc.

      Jeju is my favorite place in Korea so I could easily spend a week there but you’d want at least 4-5 days especially if you want to do any of the Hallasan hiking.

      I think the palaces and whatnot are gorgeous even if you’re not interested in their history but I guess that’s up to the person. Summer is VERY hot in Korea and Seoul, so plan wisely because there’s not a ton of shade.

      This whole one month itinerary is designed to be public transport friendly, so I would pick from that or look at my other posts to see if anywhere else catches your fancy.

  5. If I have 4 days for GANGWON PROVINCE, JEOLLANAM-DO AND JEOLLABUK-DO, how would you recommend I split it? I’m thinking 2 days for Sokcho/Seoraksan, not sure how to spend the other 2 days.

    Will be going in late November too, so will be closer to winter

    1. Hi!

      Ok, so just so you know if you go in late November, it’s not closer to winter, it IS winter. That’s when I went and I remember wearing heavy knit sweaters and my down jacket the whole time. There might be some leaves but fall foliage season is usually over, and it’s just very cold. It might even be ski season by late November, though I’m not sure. If you do want to stay up there, other good parts in Gangwon are Odaesan National Park, Donghae, and Gangneung. If I remember correctly Samcheok is supposed to be a cute village, but I haven’t spent enough time in Gangwon to know all the spots first hand!

      If you go to Jeollnam & Jeollabuk, I have two options:

      2D2N Jeollabuk, 2D2N Jeollanam
      – 2N in Jeonju – 1 day for Jeonju Hanok Village and Jeonju in general, 1 day for Namwon & Jirisan National Park
      – 2N in Suncheon – 1 day for Suncheon (lots of options) and 1 day for Boseong, Damyang, or Yeosu

      1D1N Jeonju, 3D3N Jeollanam
      – 1D1N for Jeonju and the Hanok Village
      – 3N in Suncheon (use as base) – 1 day each for Boseong, Suncheon, and Damyang

      Hope that helps!!

      1. I’m planning to go to Seoul in early November, would you recommend going Sokcho/Seoraksan straight after then?

        I was originally planning to go Seoul, Jeju, Busan, then the other cities. But if it makes a difference in terms of seeing fall leaves, and not as cold weather, I’ll change to Sokcho/Seoraksan first before Jeju and Busan. Or does it not make any difference?

        Wrote this reply before but it’s not showing up here

        1. From memory, fall foliage in the Gangwondo peaks in mid-October. If you’re trying to catch the leaves changing colors, in early November, your best bet is to head along the west coast (Naejangsan, Mudeungsan, etc) or to Jeju. Even looking at the forecast from last year, other places saw their peak the last week of October while the west coast areas were still colorful into the first week of November.

  6. This is phenomenal!! Thank you so much. I love reading all of your pages – I am going to try and read them all before we go. We have booked to visit in mid march to go for 21 days! I am so excited. I have two questions below:

    1. We have a late night flight arriving at Incheon airport at 8:30pm, where would you recommend we stay in Seoul if we want to head to Sokcho early in the morning?
    2. Do you recommend booking things early in advance, we would like to be the most cost efficient and also stay in the best hostel/hotels?

    1. 1. Hmmm how are you planning to get to Sokcho? Bus or train?
      2. I think you should be ok regardless. It never hurts to book early but don’t feel stressed that you have to. Cherry blossom season gets a little busier in Seoul, so if there’s anything you want to do around then, I’d book earlier, but I’ve never had any issues doing or booking anything last minute during March or April!

  7. Hey Samantha!
    I’m planning on going to Korea for a month in September. You mentioned you planned this a little faster than you would normally travel… do you think it would be wise to split some of it into more trips to Korea and instead spend some more time in some places? If so, where would that be?

    1. Hi Cosima! If you can, I would 100% slow it down and split between multiple trips. Give yourself a few extra days in each location – honestly you could spend 2 weeks in Seoul alone and still have left you want to see and do, especially if you factor in day trips.

  8. Hello,

    I am preparing a one month trip to korea and found your article : its so well planned and includes all the places i wanted to go so ill probably follow it step by step !
    I just had a question regarding the suitcase, how did you do ? Did you just travel light with a back pack ?
    Or did you leave your suitcase in some sort of locker ?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi! Usually when I travel to Korea I do a carry-on and a backpack for my laptop and camera (currently I use Paravel and Troubadour Goods, to give you an idea of the size). I’ll tuck in a tote bag and smaller bag/crossbody for daywear.

      It’s pretty easy to navigate with that set-up! If I don’t have my hotel room, I usually find a locker to put my things in. (All major Seoul subway stations have them and nearly all train stations I’ve been to have them too)

  9. Hi :D First: Thanks for the amazing blog! You put so much information into one page – its amazing!

    I’m going to South Korea in about 2 weeks for 22 days. Which parts would you say can be skipped as I will not be able to do the full month like you describe it here. I have to admit that I did not do a ton of research before booking the flight. It was more a spur of the moment kind of thing :P

    Thanks a ton!

      1. Hey this is awesome. Thanks! I know this is really subjective depending on accommodation types etc but do you have a rough idea of budget? If you stayed in hostels/ mid range hotels. Any suggestions of a rough budget would be awesome

        1. Hi! I would say anywhere from 50,000 KRW – 100,000 KRW a night will get you a decent mid-range or budget hotel or nice Airbnb. To give you an idea of the higher end, I stayed at some nicer hotels in Seoul last spring and I remember it coming out to around 250,000 KRW per night. Hope that helps!

  10. What a amazing itinerary!
    I am planning to go there from 30 April to 29 May, and look here and there on the several website, I am glad to found your blog.
    Thank you so much for to share with us your trip, full of interest point.
    Did you use some pass for all the transfert?

    1. Hi Valeria; I’m glad it was helpful! I’ve never used a pass besides a T-money card for subways and local buses. You can easily by all inter city buses and train tickets at stations!

  11. Going to South Korea May 1-22. Planning to be in South Korea including Seoul May 19-21 for Lantern Festival – other than that pretty flexible.
    I am over 75 years old woman independent traveler. Although I am a good walker, I never was a hiker, particularly if hilly. Greatest interests are in people, culture, music, food ,history and much less so in scenery . Also I prefer not being on tight schedule. Moderate budget – with some splurges if worthwhile.

    What modifications in your itinerary you would recommend for this senior woman?

    1. Besides taking out the hikes in this itinerary, I’d be sure to take it easy and give yourself plenty of time. Korea is more mountain than flat land, so the whole country is basically hilly and even places that aren’t advertised as a hike will likely involve some incline.

  12. Hi love,

    I love this blog because it gave me an idea of where to visit when I travel to Korea around Spring time next year. Planning to stay there for at least 1 to 2 months. I just want to know if there is a need to declare and submit this one don’t itinerary to the Korean Embassy as part of their requirement?

    Also, how many weeks or months in advance should we submit the application for Korean Visa?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Nina! What country is your passport? I know for Americans, we just have to have a K-ETA which just needs to be done a few days in advance (it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 days for approval). We don’t need an itinerary or anything!

  13. Hi! Thank you for your interesting article.
    We took a lot of inspiration from it to our trip. We are currently in Suncheon and we wanted to go to the bamboo forest in Damyang. But it seems like a 2 to 3h trip to go from there suncheon to damyang. How did you manage to go there by public transport?

    Thank you for your answer!
    Have a great day!

    1. Hi! If memory serves, it should be under two hours if you do Suncheon – Gwangju (~1hr) and then Gwangju – Damyang (~30mins). It goes pretty quickly and buses are frequent.

    2. Hi Mirana! I’m seeing the same thing trying to go from Suncheon to Damyang…. Did you guys do this trek, and approx how long did it take you each way? 3-4 hrs round trip in a day seems pretty hectic (especially when you consider doing the transfers itself and getting back to the hotel) – if you did it, do you think it’s worth it?

      Sam – may be worth editing this guide and suggesting it as a daytrip from Namwon. There’s a direct bus and it only takes 45min each way!

  14. Great blog, do you by chance have a map with these points of interest on the map? I guess I can create my own but was wondering if you already had one. I’m not familiar with all these places

  15. hii!!!
    this looks like an awsome plan!!! is it also ideal if im going to this in the winter (mid jan to mid feb)?? im doung this as a part of a 4/5 months trip to the far east!

    1. Hi! I just re-checked, and yes I’d say it does! Winter hiking is quite popular in Korea, so most of the popular trails should be okay to hike. If you like skiing, you may just want to re-adjust so you can spend more time in Gangwon!

  16. This post guide got me sooo excited to visit South Korea!! I am especially grateful that you included places outside of Seoul too because I would love to see the countryside! I plan on making a one-month trip to SK in October 2023, hopefully, so I’ll be revisiting this guide. Thanks again!!!

  17. Hi , My dream country is south korea. And I really wanted to visit there.😄 I wanted to ask that I want to experience the weather where little breeze blowing and the sun is not so bright. And the surounding is green.. Can you help me in which month should I visit.
    And I love your guide. 🌈✨

    1. Hi! Such a great country to love :) I’d say for that kind of weather, late September-mid October is your best bet or late April – mid May. Depends on where you are, of course The more north, the longer it stays cold and the more south, the longer it stays warm!

  18. Love this! I’m going to South Korea for 6 weeks in the winter (i know not so smart lol)!! I’m so excited+terrified. This is my first solo travel and I would really like to explore more than Seoul. however I still book one Airbnb located at Seoul for my whole trip 😂 probably not the best idea, but I got the place pretty cheap with good reviews. I’m terrified for my life to be homeless in a foreign country. I’m thinking maybe I can do 1-day trip outside Seoul and commute back. Good idea, bad idea? 😅

    1. Yay! Omg you couldn’t pick a better place for your first solo travel! I DEFINITELY recommend getting out of Seoul — that’s a long 6 weeks even though there’s a ton to do in the city. It’s pretty easy to arrange ski trips to Gangwon-do (most slopes will have shuttles from Seoul). It’s also super easy to hop on the KTX or an intercity bus to one of the towns nearby. Jeonju is such a fun spot, and I’m partial to my old hometowns of Suncheon and Namwon!

  19. Thank you for posting this as I will be staying in South Korea for a month in March/April. I have booked a Airbnb for in Seoul for the whole month but would love to see other parts of S Korea. This post has helped with figuring a few other cities. I was looking in what would be the best option for traveling with the country but not just limited to just 3-5 days. Any suggestions on what would be the best option for seeing other cities? Any other must see cities in S Korea?

    1. Hi Daisy!

      Soooo many places! Korea is really easy to travel in and since it’s so small, nothing is really *that* far away by train or bus. Jeju is literally an hour flight from Seoul, so if you’re feeling really crazy, you could do a whirlwind day trip there.

      Check out the other Korea posts on my blogs to get more ideas :) Might help you to narrow down where to go.

      1. Awesome thank you! Question is the KTX/ or korail (maybe the same) is there a monthly purchase ticket or is just the 3-5 days? Or is it better to buy the reservation tickets as you go?

        1. Hmm I’ve never bought multi day KTX tickets. I don’t take the KTX that often since the slower trains are still quite nice and the only difference you see in time is for longer distances (for example Suncheon to Namwon is a matter of maybe 20 minutes but the ticket is 2,000 KRW vs 8,000 KRW).

          I don’t think you really need them based on the prices I’m seeing on letskorail. I’d just buy tickets as you need them.

    1. Hmm good question! I’m not a good budgeter, so I’ve never broke down the costs. I’d say if you’re being careful with money, but you’re not totally on a shoestring budget, you could do about $50 USD (55-60,000 KRW)/day including hostels, food, and transportation. Let’s say you spend $20/night on a hostel bed, put aside $15 for transportation (some days might only be $5, but longer trips between cities might be more expensive), and $15 for food (maybe if you’re eating light for 2 meals and spending a bit more for one big meal — a good meal should be around $10 or less if it’s a mom and pop Korean place), that should even out.

      If you’re super-super-super shoestring budgeting, you could maybe get by on $20-30/day. That would mean a lot of $2 kimbap and ramen, cheapest transportation options, and couchsurfing or sleeping in saunas.

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